The city has elected to no longer remain neutral.
Carbon neutral, that is, as city council decided to scrap its plan to contribute money to the Darkwoods offset project and instead set up reserve fund for a more local energy efficiency project.
The main advantage of the move is that funds from the CARIP grant can be directed into local projects that actually reduce emissions in the municipality, said councillor Jody Blomme. This will also ensure the city can report to be “making progress towards” carbon neutrality as part of the Climate Action Charter commitment.
“What was good about the Darkwoods project was that it was relatively local, but this will be very local, so I think this is a better situation,” she said.
“I think we are further ahead if we try to keep it here in town,” agreed councillor Tim Thatcher.
In discussions with provincial representatives, city staff determined the city did not have to be carbon
neutral—therefore purchase offsets—in its operations by 2012 in order to qualify for the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) grant.
The discussion gives the city alternative options for this money ($10,000) in the short term.
In light of the recent report from the Office of the Auditor General that identifies some concerns with the Darkwoods offset project, city staff recommended the grant be directed to a climate action reserve fund for allocation towards corporate emission reductions projects and toward local energy offset projects.
The allocation of funds into the reserve or an equivalent does not satisfy the requirements to be considered “carbon neutral” but at least for the 2012 year, the city will still be eligible to receive the CARIP grant by declaring that they are “working towards carbon neutrality” on the final CARIP report.
City staff will continue to work with the Sustainability Commission to identify local projects that will result in greenhouse gas emission reductions. The money could become seed money for local carbon offset projects that the City’s Planning department and its Sustainability Commission are working on.
The city will also allocate $25/tonne, in addition to the CARIP grant, into the reserve fund as recommended by the Carbon Neutral Kootenays. The city’s annual corporate carbon emissions (tonnes C02e) were 397.97 tonnes.
When the city signed to be carbon neutral by 2012, it was found that, along with nearly all of the provincial signatories, it wasn’t able to achieve carbon neutrality, nor was the province’s own reporting program fully functioning or its carbon offset programs.
Last year the city was part of the highly publicized Darkwoods carbon offset partnership program with Carbon Neutral Kootenays, along with three regional districts and several major Kootenay municipalities, and contributed over $7,000.
The city was going to put the $9,916 in CARIP grants from this year towards paying for offsets to become carbon neutral, to reduce its carbon emissions.
CARIP money is basically the carbon tax the City paid in its operations for the last year. The City gets the money back because it had signed onto the Climate Action Charter that said it would be carbon neutral by 2012.
Carbon Neutral Kootenays, which had previously recommended the Darkwoods project, is now not recommending giving money to the project, saying instead to put it into local climate action reserve funds.
In 2008, the Regional District of East Kootenay and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary started the Carbon Neutral Kootenays project. The City of Rossland’s baseline inventory was compiled for the year 2008 at the time.
The City of Rossland amended its Official Community Plan early in 2010 to bring the municipality into compliance with Bill 27 and to set a greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) a target of 33 per cent below Rossland’s 2007 GHG emissions’ levels by 2020.
Carbon neutral projects for next year
• Complete the water meter incentive program and reach 100 per cent compliance in installing water meters.
• Continue to offer spring and fall cleanup program for organic waste to reduce individual vehicle traffic to the landfill in Trail and to reduce illegal dumping of waste.
• Continue to support Sustainability Commission in education and planning initiatives.
• Adopt new subdivision and servicing bylaw that is resilient to climate change.
– Continue to lobby BC Transit for increase bus service to Red Mountain.
• Continue to implement Active Transportation Plan.
• Complete two kilometres of trail connecting Lower Rossland to Upper Rossland and the downtown to the museum.